Falcon Heights consists of Minnesota-based producer and singer/songwriter Justin Buck, guitarist/wilderness survivalist Tanner Britton, cellist Dr. Carlynn Savot, DM-Awesome, and drummist/sensei Adam Gordon. Falcon Heights’ music is defined by its catchy pop hooks, soaring vocal and string lines, and deeply poetic lyrics. Throw in a splash of ambient sounds and electro-pop beats and you have a sound uniquely Falcon Heights.
Falcon Heights is an endeavor that has been years in the making. Justin Buck began his musical career in the early 2000s with his first band SomeOne Else. The band’s hit My Destiny was enjoyed by all 4 members of the band, and their 1 super-fan Mike. Tragically SomeOne Else was unable to sustain this mediocre level of success and disbanded shortly after.
Justin’s subsequent solo project, Providence Lost, seriously impressed his mom but didn’t resonate with a larger audience. The project did plant the seeds that would later grow into several songs on Illusions & Chimeras. “It is always interesting to look back on past work,” says Buck. “Providence Lost was a failed idea, but without that project I wouldn’t have a number of Falcon Heights’ songs. I can trace melodic ideas back to songs I wrote as Providence Lost, and even back to SomeOne Else.” Though inspiration can be traced back earlier in the decade, the creation of Falcon Heights was ultimately the result of events occurring in the year 2009.
September of that year marked the beginning of Justin’s 3-year tenure at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota. New beginnings would meet bitter endings as 2009 culminated with the breaking of what would prove to be an emotionally traumatic relationship for Buck. He says of his experience, “2010 ended up being one of the most painful years of my life. The fallout that followed the end of this particular relationship scarred me in ways that took years to recover from. I reacted by burying myself in my music. I resurrected old song ideas and gave them new life. I lived in the studio and crafted my skills. I was emotionally scarred, but I had a newfound purpose.” The end result was Falcon Heights’ debut album Illusions & Chimeras (Wait & Hope). The album is the story of Buck’s experience as he picked up the pieces of himself.
Illusions & Chimeras was independently released in 2012. At the time of the release, Falcon Heights was still officially a one-man band, though the album reflects the creativity and capability of the collaborating musicians. In particular, violinist David Sutton’s work on the album helped to craft the sound of the band. Buck and Sutton continued to play together on and off through 2012 and 2013.
Those years saw the comings and goings of other musicians and instrumentations until settling into its current roster. Tanner Britton, Adam Gordon, and Carlynn Savot joined Justin to finally create a cohesive unit. The band spent 2013 and early 2014 putting together a live set along with rearranging the existing music to utilize the new members and give the songs new life. 2014 has also seen the beginning of a new EP. Falcon Heights hopes to begin releasing new music by the end of the year.
In addition to creating some great new music, Justin wants to continue to spread a message of hope. “I want to use my experiences to help others. While I wrote Illusions & Chimeras (Wait & Hope) I felt locked in a prison in my mind. I didn’t know how to deal with what I was feeling until I wrote about it. Writing my music allowed me to rationalize my emotions, and ultimately find myself again. I was able to sift through the shame and embarrassment and realize that there was nothing wrong with me for feeling the way I did. I truly believe this. There is nothing wrong with someone who admits their feelings and emotions. I measure that person by the way they react. I went through an emotional hell that was made even worse by the realization that much of it was self-induced, but I don’t regret any of it. I am a better person because I dealt with what I was going through, and without this experience there would be no Falcon Heights. I want to show people that there is always a way out no matter what you are feeling. You may just come out on the other side a better person.”
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